February 19, 2014

Psalm 70

Make haste, O God to deliver me!
Make haste to help me, O Lord!

Let them be ashamed and confounded who seek my life;
let them be turned back and confused who seek my life;
Let them be turned back who and confused who desire my hurt.
Let them be turned back because of their shame, who jeer,
saying, “Well done! Well done!”

Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;
and let those who love Your salvation say continually, “God is great!”

But I am poor and needy; make haste to help me, O God!
You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord do not delay.

(Psalm 70, LXX)

This psalm is almost identical to Psalm 40:13-17. It is a prayer for times of struggle, temptation and desperation. It is read at the start of Compline, where we’ll hear it in the first week of Lent during the service for the Great Canon of Saint Andrew of Crete as we contemplate the struggle with passions. Indeed, unless we know that we are “poor and needy” we can neither ask for God’s help nor love His salvation. As the Lord told Saint Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9). 

Psalm 70 is also part of the “Office at the Parting of the Soul from the Body, When a Man has Suffered for a Long Time,” which includes this prayer:

O Master, Lord God, hear me, a sinner and your unworthy servant at this hour and pardon your servant______. Deliver him (her) from this intolerable sickness which holds him (her) in bitter helplessness and grant him (her) rest where all the souls of the righteous dwell. For You are the repose of our souls and bodies, and to You we ascribe glory: to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

En route to Alaska

Sitka Icon
Our Lady of Sitka, Archangel Michael Cathedral, Sitka, Alaska

This morning I’m packing up for the trip to Alaska with His Beatitude (and subdeacon Roman Ostash) for the consecration of Archimandrite David (Mahaffey) as the new bishop of Sitka. Thursday evening before Vespers, during a prayer service sung by the bishops, Archimandrite David will formally accept his election by the Holy Synod. This brief service includes the Troparion and Kontakion of Pentecost, signifying that the consecration of a new bishop is a mark of the continuing life of the Holy Spirit in the Church, and that the bishop’s role is to rightly “divide” or discern the word of truth in unity with his brother bishops and all the Church’s faithful.

Blessed art Thou, O Christ our God,
Who hast revealed the fishermen as most wise
By sending down upon them the Holy Spirit;
Through them Thou didst draw the world into Thy net.
O Lover of Man, glory to Thee!

When the Most High came down and confused the tongues,
He divided the nations;
But when He distributed the tongues of fire, He called all to unity.
Therefore, with one voice we glorify the all-holy Spirit!

We leave New York at 3:00 pm, fly via Denver and arrive in Anchorage just before midnight. The consecration events will be held in Anchorage, and the new Bishop’s installation will be at Saint Michael’s Cathedral in Sitka on Sunday.

For more about the Diocese of Alaska visit their website and see Archimandrite David’s brief welcome video.